Rainfall for May near or past record

  • Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 28, 2012 - 9:05 AM

But heavy showers and severe weather should disappear for a sunny Memorial Day.

Thunderstorms packing high winds and heavy rain rolled through the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota on Sunday night after a steamy 90-degree day.

A flash-flood warning was issued for the west metro, with some areas receiving 1 to 2 inches of rain and more expected overnight. Quarter-size hail with winds in excess of 70 miles per hour pummeled Jordan.

Rain started falling in Minneapolis about 7:30 p.m.

"[The Twin Cities] could get 1 to 3 inches by daybreak," said National Weather Service forecaster James McQuirter. "With those kinds of rainfall amounts, some rivers could go over their banks. A lot of rivers already are pretty swollen, so it won't take much."

Meteorologist Paul Douglas tweeted a possible tornado touchdown in St. Francis. But the Anoka County Sheriff's Office reported no structural damage, just downed power lines that were blocking roads.

Some property damage was noted and the Soundset hip-hop music festival at Canterbury Park was evacuated after the tornado sirens went off.

While many fans jumped in their cars to leave the concert about 7:20 p.m., more ran to the main Canterbury Park building. The rain and wind passed almost as quickly as they came, and the usual post-concert traffic jam commenced.

By Sunday night, the Twin Cities was nearing the precipitation record for May of 10.33 inches.

"We're getting close. It may already be the second-wettest spring on record," McQuirter said.

To a point, the added soaking has been good for the parched landscape. Much of Minnesota had been in a drought, compounded by a winter that fell way below normal for snow.

Rivers nearing their banks over the weekend included portions of the Minnesota, the south fork of the Crow and a stretch of the Mississippi from Stearns and Sherburne counties down to Red Wing, McQuirter said. Some of these rivers could go over their banks by next weekend, depending on how much rain falls, McQuirter said.

Up north, creeks and rivers already raging from heavy Saturday night rainfalls likely will be moving even more water on Monday with the heavy rain and flash flooding that was predicted for Sunday night.

After the heavy rains, Memorial Day should be a perfect day to dry out.

"We might get a few showers in the morning, but we'll be drying out Monday," McQuirter said. The metro forecast is for mostly sunny with a pleasant high near 78 degrees.

Staff writers Heron Marquez Estrada, Pamela Huey and Chris Riemenschneider contributed to this report. Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788

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